The club had agonised about whether to run this event – 24h beforehand, it was clear that we were heading for some pretty windy conditions, with gusts up to 50mph (and of course the Astwood circuit is pretty much on a hill!). We finally took the decision not to cancel, as the BBC forecast suggested the gales would subside to a mere 24mph by 7pm.
So I rode to work on my P5 as usual on race day. Unfortunately when I can to leave work for the race, I found it so windy that riding a P5 with a front trispoke was alarming at best and downright dangerous at worst! I got a lift home and switched to the P3 with a rear trispoke and a regular road wheel in the front. Unfortunately, this left me only 25 minutes to dash to the start. What the hell, I thought, I’ll go for it! Sadly, the railway crossing barriers were down and I got stuck for several minutes there. It was clearly very gusty as I pressed on. I had a tail wind up the hill to Cranfield and onward to the start point of the race, so I made pretty good time. I arrived a few minutes after 7pm (well warmed up), to find several riders plus timekeepers milling about deciding whether to abandon. By this time, the wind had really whistled in, bearing a nasty shower. A few riders ventured off down the course to evaluate the situation, and an in the end the wise decision was taken to abandon and we retired to the Bikebus cafe for a coffee before returning home.
It did seem as though conditions were better while we were in the cafe, but frankly I think that was an illusion – it was still pretty awful as I rode home, and I had a couple of very alarming gusts.